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Archive for January, 2005

So yesterday was the first day I went scuba diving since the last memorable experience in August. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the last dive I can give you a brief recap. Actually, I will recap the mistakes that I made so that you, my dear reader, will not follow in my footsteps and make the same mistakes. Mistake #1: eating not one, but two McGriddle sandwiches prior to riding on a boat. As I recall, the sea, she was angry that day. It was a very rocky boat ride with lots of pitching. There was a strong current and much motion, so much in fact I felt sea sick as soon as I left the harbor. Mistake #2: letting Mary suit up before me. Mary, bless her, was only trying to make sure her regulator worked before getting in the water. Any sane person would have done the same. The only problem was the large, sick, Japanese man behind her ignoring her pleas for help because he was just trying to keep his breakfast down. I think my exact words were “I don’t care if it works or not Mary, just get in the water!” Mistake #3: not fully securing my camera safely to my wrist. After a nice dive in a strong current, we surfaced to more rocking and rolling. I am still not sure when my camera dropped off my wrist, but I do know that when I got onto the ladder, it wasn’t there. But hey, that was four months ago right? Surely this dive will be much better.

Actually this dive was supposed to be much better. I had to take some of the Foursquare guys diving and since they were men of God, I figure what could go wrong? Did you know that when you get certified in the mainland they give you patches? The Foursquare guys had this cool patches (like Boy Scout patches) to signify their level of certification (and they actually received them underwater, like a graduation). Anyway I made sure I didn’t repeat the first mistake. Instead of eating a McGriddle sandwich, I went to 7-11 and ate a salmon roll (I figure the nori and the salmon both come from the water so how upset could it make my stomach?). I didn’t repeat the second mistake. Mary didn’t come on this dive. And I didn’t repeat the third mistake. The camera was very secure. But as I always seem to learn, there are always more mistakes to be had.

I should have known this dive was going to be bad since I got a pretty good omen about it. When I was trying to place some of my equipment on board (my boots and gloves), I tossed them to one of the guys who apparently wasn’t paying any attention to me (I could tell because I ended up throwing them towards his back). Well, the outcome was less than ideal. Let’s just say that 75% of the equipment I threw towards him made it on board. Once piece, a glove, did not. “Great,” I thought to myself, “we’re not even out of Kewalo Basin and I’ve already lost a piece of equipment. I’m going to be Michael Jackson (not the alleged child molester, the pop star with only one glove).”

So as we headed out toward the Sea Tiger (sans my one glove) I noticed that the ocean was very calm. It was more like a lake than an ocean. There were practically no waves whatsoever. Even the visibility was great (100+ feet). We could actually see the Sea Tiger from the surface. There was hardly any current so the dive conditions were absolutely ideal. But I know what you’re asking. What about the bad omen?

Well the first thing that went wrong was being stuck behind some Japanese woman descending down the rope to the Sea Tiger. I don’t know what it is about women being slow on a dive but she was moving very slowly down the rope. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that we were on a limited supply of air so it would be greatly appreciated if she would hurry, so I did the next best thing. Everytime she would drop down a foot or so, I would immediately slide my hand and try to push her down. Finally at about 70 feet I couldn’t take it any longer. I just broke away from the rope and swam toward the Sea Tiger. What can I say? I’m a rebel.

The second problem that I had involved my camera. Maybe the mistake is the camera. I’m not too sure about it yet. After only 13 pictures my camera died. I don’t know what happened since I just charged the batteries the night before. I must have left it on standby or something. I thought I had fresh batteries, but I really had dead ones. That kind of sucked real bad.

The rest of the dive went very well. We got to see some really cool rays and turtles as well as penetrate the wreck. However, once I got back on the boat, the old familiar feelings of seasickness settled in. In retrospect, I don’t think it was seasickness per se. I actually believe that I just over exerted myself underwater. Going back to the limited air supply comment earlier. Since we are on a limited supply of air, we divers normally try to control our breathing (it also affects our buoyancy as well) so as to conserve our air. Well it had been a while since I last went diving so my breathing was a little off. What I mean is that I automatically breathe much slower and much deeper. I think I needed more oxygen and I wasn’t giving it to my body so as soon as I made it back on the boat I started feeling sick again. Of course, on the other side, I did manage to conserve plenty of air.

So if there is anything to learn from this it would have to be to stay away from boats. I don’t think I’ll be on a boat anytime in the near future. I’ll stick to shore diving.

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So tonight I had my very first experience with a neighborhood board. I’ll be honest with you I kind of felt like I was selling out. You know what I mean? I felt like I was becoming part of the establishment. It was a very big turn from my usual revolutionary, rebellious self. So why was I there? Basically I was there to represent my employer, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay. Apparently the powers that be wanted to put a younger face on Hope Chapel and thought that I would be a good pick because I’m so good looking (and I am also a lifelong Kaneohe resident to boot). So anyway, I was scheduled to present somewhere on the top of the second page of the agenda (which little did I know translates into 2 hours of wait time). But let me go back a little further.

Yesterday Aunty Connie was supposed to address the board but due to a schedule conflict she couldn’t make it so she asked me (yay!). My bonus dad (whom Rob affectionately calls “Mr. Public Hearing) is apparently very good at these things. In a moment of confirmation, while I was at Costco, who should walk up? You guessed it, my bonus dad. He was buying a bottle of wine and I was buying Turbo Tax. Anyway, he offered help and of course I took it (they were more pointers really).

Now tonight was the Men’s night out at church which means among other things, a really good steak dinner. I also try to meet with Blaine on Thursdays so my night got a little stretched. But I managed to wolf down a steak (is there any other way on a testosterone-driven men’s night?) and sort of meet with Blaine (okay, not too much quality time) and then head off to the neighborhood board meeting. And what was really cool was that I had shared with Krys that I had to go and do this board thing and she called me at ten till seven to pray for me. How awesome is that? I know this is a tangent, but I am so blessed to have a friend like Krys that will cover me with prayer.

I got there like five minutes late because the clocks that they have at Windward Community College are five minutes ahead of mine (those clever college kids always trying to get out early) so I walked in just when they were trying to elect a new member of the board. This should have been my first clue that it would be a long night. The election consisted of the two candidates being grilled by the board as to why they want to serve and how they can contribute (I just want to add that this is for a NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD seat, you’d think they were running for governor or something by the questions being asked). Then they went on to have a election that consisted of the chairman asking everyone how they vote individually right in front of the candidates. After the first run neither candidate received the necessary votes (it was 8-3 with one abstaining vote) to earn a seat so what did they do? They grilled them some more and voted again (this time with Mr. Morris winning 10-2). I felt bad for the other dude that lost since he lost not only publicly but also with the winner pulling up a chair and joining the board right then and there. It was totally weird.

But after that happened, they got down to business and had all these people reporting things. They had representatives from HPD, HFD, the military, the mayor’s office, the governor’s office, a certain US congressman’s office and State Senator Bob Hogue (live and in person) and Representative Pono Chong. Of course after everyone presented they could be asked questions by the board. There was one member that made it a point to say something after every person (Bob Hogue even made a joke about it saying, “welcome to the Wendell Lum story hour”). Finally after over 2 hours it was my turn to talk. I got up and tried to make a joke to lighten the mood, but either the board does not have a sense of humor, or they were just simply trying to get out, I’ll never know because I got the most blank stares I had ever seen (Mr. Rushmore would have given me a better reaction). But I just shared how much I love Kaneohe and the things that our church has been doing in the community and it went very well. I’m not sure if they were impressed or bored or what since their expressions didn’t ever change, but I guess we’ll see in the minutes or something.

On a separate note, do you ever thing about the soundtrack (or songtrack) of you life? One of my best friends in the whole entire world just got an iPod for Christmas and she was putting all kinds of worship songs on it (incidentally, my sister also got an iPod for Christmas and I really wished I got an iPod for Christmas, but did Santa deliver to me?) so I was searching through some old stuff that I used to listen to (and we still sometimes play at church) and many of the songs bring back very specific memories. I am guessing it was because many of the songs comforted me during trying times (my dad’s death, the crush that didn’t work out, the other crush that didn’t work out…just kidding about the last ones). But listening to them again made me realize how good God is. I still managed to make it through all the tough times and I know he still loves me.

One song in particular from the “By Your Side” album has a line that really stuck out to me on the drive home. In the song “Your Unfailing Love” there is a line that reads “when my memory takes the place of you, Jesus come”. It really made me think about how many times my memories have indeed taken the place of Jesus and how I can think of so many negative times in my life and dwell on them without even knowing it. Even the positive memories can bind us if they are not held in the proper frame of mind. All this to say that I need Jesus to help me everyday and keep my eyes (and therefore thoughts) focused in him.

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Ahh the joys of leaders’ meetings. Due to a huge phase that our church is going to embark on, we are canceling our leaders’ meetings for the next four months or so. This saddens me greatly since I really love my leaders and all the enthusiasm they bring to the ministry. For instance, yesterday we spent a good 6 hours watching a video about outreach. After the video ended, Rob asked me to shoot a video about what the people of Kaneohe think about Hope Chapel. Luckily Peter agreed to come with me and become my cameraman/interviewer (we switched off). It was fun even though there weren’t too many people out in the shopping center at 9:45pm. We did interview several people so I hope it comes out.

However, the real joy of the night happened during our meeting. The first hour of the meeting we had some business stuff to take care of, but the second half was all about making phone calls. Since we have our Mexican night coming up this Saturday we did a phone drive. It started rather simply since we all just called our MiniChurches first. After that we just took our database list and did some cold calls. For most people this isn’t too fun since not everyone likes callng people that they do not know. This applies to Keao more than most. I know she doesn’t like calling people just in general (I know this because she was making phone calls right next to me and she kept muttering under her breath “please don’t pick up, please don’t pick up”). But on the last call of the night (maybe her life) we had a winner.

I asked her to call this one person (because I thought he’d be pretty stoked if a girl called him) and like a nice girl she did. But the strange thing is she didn’t. She actually misdialed the number and called the wrong person. Of course we could only hear her side of the conversation, but it was pretty funny. She apparently called some dude named Roger by mistake. Now the great thing about this is that she was an answer to prayer! Apparently ol’ Roger had been praying that he would meet a nice girl and guess what? A nice girl just called out of the blue! What are the odds I ask? Probably pretty slim. Man, that God sure does have a sense of humor (luckily we did too). I truly hope that Roger shows up this weekend and gets a chance to meet his “answered prayers”.

Oh and I must remember to remind Keao to make sure she calls the original person tomorrow…

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Wow, it’s been a while since I have found the time and a subject worth writing about. First of all, Happy New Year everyone! I know that we are almost half a month into the new year, but oh well, better late than never right?

So for the last I don’t know how many years the PGA Tour has made an annual stop on O’ahu in the form of the Sony Open in Hawaii (formerly known as the United Airlines Hawaiian Open and before that just the Hawaiian Open). It’s kind of neat to see the golfers that you see on TV up close and in person. I actually used to volunteer as a standard bearer (which is super cool since you actually get to go inside the ropes) and that is why I have a collection of autographed golf balls (including one from the number one player on the planet Vijay Singh). It is really amazing when you think about the little sub-cultures that exist in this world. Last year I got a glimpse into two more of them (scuba divers and motorcycle riders). The golf sub-culture is one that has its own language (for example: inside the ropes, up and down, etc.), its own heroes and its own holy cities (although the chances of me playing Pebble Beach, Augusta National or Pine Valley are about as good as me winning a lottery).

Today I took another little step deeper into the sub-culture that is tournament golf. If you ever watch a telecast of a PGA Tour event you’ll notice that there are many bleachers set up around the golf course. The ones on the 18th green are normally the largest and most boisterous (usually because that’s where the round ends). Now within those bleachers there are two distinct sections. There are the bleachers that are open to the general public and there are the bleachers that are not.

Here’s what happens. Certain corporations spend thousands of dollars to sponsor a skybox so that they can entertain and invite the important people and impress them. I was lucky enough to be one of those important people. I had a pass to the AIG skybox (which apparently was co-sponsored by First Hawaiian Bank, I even got to sit right next to Walter Dods). When I got in there I saw rows of chairs overlooking the 18th green and tables and two TVs (one showing the NFL playoffs and the other the telecast of the Sony Open). There was also tons of free food. It was great. There was sushi platters, musubi platters (katsu, spam and chicken), noodles, baked brie, fried chicken, yakitori chicken, short ribs, sandwiches, chips, soup and desserts. There was also an open bar with all the drinks you could drink. But the most impressive part of the skybox was the little freezer in the corner that was stocked with Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches and Haagen Daz ice cream bars. I couln’t resist the temptation so I was forced to eat a Coffee/Almond Crunch bar, a Vanilla/Almond bar and a Raspberry Sorbet/Yogurt bar. Definitely one of the highlights of my day.

Of course there was also a tournament going on so we had to go and watch the fun too. Saturday is traditionally known as “moving day” since it’s when a lot of players move up or down the leaderboard. Vijay Singh moved up and Justin Rose moved down. We actually spent most of our day following the lead pairing Shigeki Maruyama and Justin Rose (well most of the back nine anyway) and also the Lehman/Sluman pairing and the Azinger/Quigley pairing. It’s always amazing how good these guys really are. It seems that they can save par from anywhere.

Now I’m home and tired and ready for bed. It’s a good thing that there is absolutely nothing going on tonight so that I can go over my budget and get to bed early. Well, with that I’m off to bed.

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